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Engineering Materials

NASA Starts Biofuel Flight Tests

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Elizabeth M
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Good news
Elizabeth M   3/12/2013 8:49:38 AM
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Thanks for covering this, Ann. It's great to see NASA backing the use of biofuels and experimenting with alternative fuel for its gas-guzzling vehicles! Hopefully their research will set a precedent and pave the way for more widespread use of alternative fuels. Any idea why these chose fuels based on these particular plants? It seems like there are quite a number of plant-based biofuels emerging.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Good news
Ann R. Thryft   3/12/2013 1:02:21 PM
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You're welcome, Elizabeth. I know the military has done research in this area, as you'/ve covered for DN, but the only NASA work I'd seen before this was the OMEGA algae biofuel project. They seem to be playing it pretty close to the vest regarding what they are or aren't planning to actually use, or why they choose one plant source over the other. But the fact that the EPA just listed this one as a qualifier under the RFS program indicates to me that they may be moving from the wide range of R&D to working on stuff that's got a higher probability of being used.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Good news
Elizabeth M   3/12/2013 4:05:59 PM
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Ah well, yes, much better to focus on something that might actually become a widely used biofuel in the future. It's good to see NASA focusing like that. Not surprising they are being a bit hush hush about the whole thing. It is NASA, after all. Will definitely look forward to future developments here.

Mydesign
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Bio fuel
Mydesign   3/13/2013 3:59:37 AM
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Ann, that's good initiative from NASA, a pioneer in R&D. I think most of such innovations are coming from NASA and various other defence labs. Once after proving the technology, it's finally transferring to public for addressing common issues. Any idea what's are the ingredients of bio fuel?

Mydesign
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Re: Good news
Mydesign   3/13/2013 4:01:53 AM
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Elizebeth, I think instead of fully depending up on a particulate type of fuel source, they have to look for hybrid mode of fuels like a combination of solar & bio & gasoline type.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Good news
Elizabeth M   3/13/2013 5:41:07 AM
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You're probably right, Mydesign, but hey, whatever works. As long as they are researching ways to replace gasoline and oil-based fuels with more environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient options, it's all the kind of work that needs to be done, and quickly.

sensor pro
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Re: Good news
sensor pro   3/13/2013 11:42:04 AM
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I totally agree with you, It is refreshing to see that they actually doing some useful research instead of waistful public relations.

Hope they find something useful.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Bio fuel
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2013 12:46:25 PM
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Mydesign, this one is based on the camelina plant, as we say in the article. It's another relative of mustard and canola, in the Brassica family of plants, and also related to the oilseed plant the Canadians are using in a 100% biofuel jet fuel. The NASA fuel being tested, however, is a 50-50 blend with regular, petro-based JP-8 jet fuel.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Good news
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2013 12:49:03 PM
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sensor pro, not sure what you mean by wasteful PR. The OMEGA project was not just PR--it was real R&D and had some good results. Although I don't believe it was aimed at jet fuel, whereas this one is. Or did you mean something else?



sensor pro
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Re: Good news
sensor pro   3/13/2013 1:07:47 PM
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Whet I ment by wasteful PR is a waste of time that NASA is spending on glorifying the contribution of other nations to space exploration. The waste of time to be politically correct.  If we compare new developments coming out from NASA now to lets say 15 years ago, it is not even close. They lost huge number or engineers and scientists during the cuts of 2 and 3 years ago. I still remember that they coul not find the engineering team to fix the oxygen problem on the space station because they were let go three month earlier. !!!!

Im happy to see some movement on the development side from NASA.

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